The Changing World Of Online & Offline Directories
Having been actively involved in the recent creative and marketing process of some brand new online directories, this article caught my attention, and so I thought I would share it with you.
The digital age does not just mean people are becoming less reliant on print products such as the Yellow Pages to search for information.
But at two of the biggest global directories conferences recently — the European Association of Directory Publishers’ annual congress in Venice and the Kelsey Group’s Directional Media Strategies in Dallas — Sensis executives found themselves in an unusual position.
Delegates at DMS argued whether “printed Yellow Pages will be extinct in as many as five European markets” in five years, but Sensis, owned by Telstra, has bucked the trend of many print businesses by continuing to make good money from dead trees…
…more than half of Sensis’s revenue comes from the Yellow Pages, and more than two-thirds of Yellow Pages’ revenue comes from print.
It would be reasonable to assume the migration to digital will make this business model unsustainable but, unlike the newspaper and magazine businesses, Sensis has not seen reason to reinvent the wheel just yet.
“Five years ago and six years ago there was an assumption that we had seen the last of print and we are getting into a new world,” Sensis chief executive Bruce Akhurst said. “That may happen over the long-term but we are seeing the print books hold up well.”
Mr Akhurst said usage patterns for the Yellow and White Pages could come as a surprise…
“…Young people use books but they use them at home. People use online in a work environment. But…at home people get the book out. They are using the product in combination.”
Not that Sensis is ignoring changes in consumer behavior. It has 3 million users a month on smart-phones, while demand for the print products remains flat…
If you want to use a book then go for it….
“Explaining to a plumber search engine optimization or search engine marketing and social media and viral media – to make sense of all this is difficult. It is a complex world. We want to take complexity out of it…”
Sensis must ensure that small businesses get good service and results from ads. They must also fend off niche competitors.
“We’ve been quite focused on being able to prove our return on investment that we deliver,” Mr Akhurst said. “If you don’t, you are into this world of saying, a thousand cars drive past this billboard on the side of the road. So what? Did anybody read it? Did anybody call the company? We are out there putting metered ads in books and metered ads to actually measure real response rates to real ads and showing the data to our customers.”
Source: The Australian